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(Lemon) balm, Melissa officinalis

Family of labiateae

When we were young we used to pick it up and then bring near to the naked legs of our friends, who run away very scared because they believed it was stinging nettle. This herb, whose leaves are dark green and if rubbed they produce a delicious small of lemon, grows in shady places, near bushes and ruins. Its leaves, picked up in the months of May and June and in the morning, are dried and then used to make infusion.

This herb is a good remedy against headache and vertigo. It is possible to prepare an infusion with white wine and balm and this kind of liqueur has digestive and stimulating properties. Its tender leaves can be used to flavour mixed salads, so they become more digestible. Small branches of balm are used in the decoration of summer drinks, with orange, lemon and grapefruit juice.

Picture and text of Tebaldo Lorini
Translated by Gianna Toni

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